About 8% of all candidates in the fray for the second phase of local body elections in Maharashtra on December 14 have assets of over Rs1 crore, as per an analysis by the Association of Democratic Rights (ADR) and Maharashtra Election Watch.

Fourteen municipal councils in Pune and Latur districts are headed to polls on December 14 with 1,184 candidates vying for 324 seats. As per the analysis by ADR and Maharashtra Election Watch, 96 candidates have assets of more than Rs 1 crore, while only two out of the 1,184 candidates have declared a total annual income of more than Rs 20 lakh.

The average assets of all candidates across the two districts this election is Rs 39 lakh, while 294 candidates have declared very low assets of below Rs 2 lakh and 51 have even declared their assets to be zero, the analysis further shows.

Ajit Ranade, a founder member of the National Election Watch, said, “We have tried to analyse the information and put it before people in a user-friendly way from candidates’ affidavits so that they can see for themselves if the candidate is being transparent or not. In local elections, voters often know their candidates closely and have been seeing them regularly, so they can compare this with any unofficial information that they have to know if candidates have been truthful in their affidavits.”

Ranade said, often information on the income-tax paid is not provided by all candidates and this could be a reason for the number of high earners declaring less assets. “But over all, the country is looking for more tax compliance. We want more people to pay tax and even the prime minister has been insisting on it. This way, voters can find out if candidates are leading the way,” Ranade added.

Raju Tukaram Bhosale, a candidate for the Shirur municipal council, has declared the highest assets of more than Rs 16 crore, with Rs 15.8 crore of it being in the form of immovable assets.

33% candidates, 390 to be exact, are in the age bracket of 31 to 40 years, followed by 298 candidates in the 41 to 50 age group, and another 213 who are 25 to 30 years of age. Sixty-three candidates are very young, aged between 21 and 24, while eight candidates are very old, falling in the 71-80 age group.

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